Baldock, a small town and a parish in Herts. The town stands in a valley between two hills, on Icknield Street, adjacent to the Hitchin and Cambridge branch of the G.N.R., near the source of the river Rhea, 5 miles NE of Hitchin. It has a station on the railway, a head post and telegraph office, a bank, and two breweries. Malting and brewing are the chief occupations, barley being extensively grown in the neighbourhood. A great quantity of straw-plait is made here and in the adjacent villages, and there is a market for it on Fridays. Fairs are held yearly on 7 March, the last Thursday in May, 5 August, 2 October, 11 December. The name was anciently written Baudoc, and is supposed by some to have been taken from Baalbec in Syria, and applied by the Knights Templars. These military monks obtained a grant of the place, in the reign of Stephen, from Gilbert, Earl of Pembroke, and they built upon it a church, and obtained for it the rights of a market-town. The present parish church includes some portions of the Templars' church; is a spacious edifice, in Later English, with a large chancel and an ancient tower, and contains some monuments of the Templars, a finely-carved oak screen, a very curious font, and part of the ancient rood-loft. The living is a rectory in the diocese of St Albans; net yearly value, £210 with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of St Albans. There are also Congregational, Primitive Methodist, and Wesleyan chapels, and meeting-houses for the Friends and Plymouth Brethren. There are some well-endowed almshouses and several useful charities. The principal street of the town is wide, and has many respectable houses. Area of the parish, 263 acres; population of the civil parish, 2301; of the ecclesiastical, 1918. The Knights Templars selected Baldock as a place of residence on account of its reputation for extreme salubrity, a reputation which it still enjoys.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Baldock St. Mary|
|Poor Law union||Hitchin|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Baldock from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Baldock (St. Mary))
Land and Property
A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Hertfordshire is online.
Online maps of Baldock are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Hertfordshire newspapers online:
- Hertford Mercury and Reformer
- Herts Guardian, Agricultural Journal, and General Advertiser
- Watford Observer
The Visitations of Hertfordshire, 1572 and 1634. Edited by Walter C. Metcalfe, F.S.A. is available on the Heraldry page.